Dundee Science Centre Looks to Local Communities to Shape Future
Published on 7 August 2018
Just weeks after unveiling the outcome of a £2M fundraising campaign, in the form of a new exhibition and science learning suite, Dundee Science Centre has secured £1.45M to transform the visitor attraction into an even more accessible community hub.
The Inspiring Science Fund is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Wellcome. The scheme supports science centres to re-think what they do, and what they offer to the public. Dundee Science Centre is currently fundraising for an additional £340K to reach its ambitious targets.
The news comes hot on the heels of the re-opening of the top floor following an ambitious redevelopment which doubled the upper floor space through a mezzanine extension, now housing the Medical Marvels exhibition and much improved facilities for the Science Learning Institute.
This latest tranche of funding will transform Dundee Science Centre into an inspiring community hub and lifelong learning resource which brings people together and attracts new audiences within the region. The spaces and programmes will be co-designed with communities from the design stage right through to prototyping and testing, and influenced by their needs to ensure it will feel welcoming, safe and accessible for people of all backgrounds.
Rebecca Erskine, Head of Development, Dundee Science Centre said, “We are incredibly excited to build on our existing relationships with our dynamic partners and community groups and invite in new audiences who may feel as though science isn’t for them to join us on a journey to truly shape and co-design exhibits, environments and programmes which are all influenced by their needs.”
Not only will the ground floor be developed into a custom-built hub with improved scope for events, talks and workshops celebrating community work, but made more user-friendly to those affected by sensory and other conditions.
The transformation will also see the creation of a brand new welcome / reception area, dedicated under 7’s exhibition area focused on child development, a sensory zone and new exhibition space with exhibits which encourage social interactions.
The coffee shop will also be replaced by ‘The Gathering Place’ where visitors can socialise and relax with intriguing injections of science, again all shaped by the community.
Linda Leuchars, CEO, Dundee Science Centre said, “We are absolutely delighted to have secured this new funding which will allow us to take all the work we’ve done over the last 18 years to the next level. We are already proud to be leaders in the field of community engagement but now it’s about exploring where we can take that, and really pushing the barriers of science engagement.”
Echoing the sentiment of inclusion is Paul Clancy, Executive Director of Children and Families Service from Dundee City Council, one of Dundee Science Centre’s partners – “Dundee Science Centre’s ambitious plans will play an important role our aims to tackle social inequalities and provide our children and young people with the best start to life. CONNECT will be an excellent opportunity for Dundee Science Centre and Dundee City Council to explore new and greater ways of working together and to learn from each other’s practice. CONNECT will firmly place Dundee Science Centre and science within the tourism, education and cultural fabric of the city and we are excited to be involved in this journey.”
In addition to the physical transformation, a new website will also be developed, again underpinned by the themes of CONNECT – inclusion, accessibility and diversity. The Science Centre team will also be trained by specialist organisations to ensure that the products and programmes on offer are fit for purpose, accessible and address local needs.
It is hoped that talks with local community groups will commence during Dundee Science Festival in October 2018. The new look Centre should be unveiled in Spring 2021.
The project partners bring expertise from a range of sectors from community learning and development, academia, formal education and health care. They are – Dundee City Council, Education Scotland, Dundee and Angus ADHD Support group, V&A Dundee, University of Dundee, Abertay University, University of St Andrews, Dundee and Angus College and NHS Tayside.
For more information, telephone (01382) 228800 or visit www.dundeesciencecentre.org.uk.
Inspiring Science Fund
The Inspiring Science Fund is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Wellcome. The scheme supports science centres to rethink what they do and what they offer to the public. The aims of the fund are to revitalise the offer of existing science centres through capital development, such as new exhibition spaces and learning centres, and the opportunity to develop meaningful engagement with underserved and underrepresented audiences. This opportunity to refresh how science centres are operating will lead to more sustainable business models, and contribute to science centre sector development through shared learning.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the new funding organisation for research and innovation in the UK, will succeed BEIS as co-funder of the Inspiring Science Fund later in 2018. UKRI brings together the seven UK research councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England, working closely with its partner organisations in the devolved administrations.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy brings together responsibilities for business, industrial strategy, science, innovation, energy and climate change. The Department is responsible for: developing and delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy and leading the government’s relationship with business; ensuring that the country has secure energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean; ensuring the UK remains at the leading edge of science, research and innovation; and tackling climate change.
Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. Wellcome focuses on people, helping everyone play their own role in improving health and is a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. Wellcome supports scientists and researchers, takes on big problems, fuels imaginations, and sparks debate. They believe that if the public – individuals, communities and society – are actively involved in their work, then Wellcome will be more likely to succeed in its mission and will become even more accountable.